Two Strong Openings for King
At Andulka Park in Riverside, King hosted the Big 8 league school. In a combined meet of all six conference schools competing simultaneously, the girls from King finished 3rd behind Santiago and Roosevelt, while the boys finished in second behind Santiago.
On the girls’ side, King had some “proving to do.”
“We wanted to show a desire to fight it out with the big girls” said head coach Pedro Sandoval. “we knew coming in that we had two State ranked teams ahead of us, but wanted to push the limits of those teams.
King was led by 3rd place overall finisher Audrey Brunken and Andrea Guadian who finished 6th. Sophomore Sarah Pietrantonio was King’s our 7th girl with an outstanding race. 7 placers is considered “varsity” in the sport of cross country.
The boys had a good day despite being down two usual performers who didn’t race.
Sandoval noted that it was the great races of Julian Morgan (Sr) and Matthew Gwynn (Jr) who made a difference in the absence of their teammates. “They never let up the fight” Sandoval said. “They knew the pressure was on them to perform and they did just that.”
Newcomer Brayden Lunetta held the team to the 2nd place as the 5th man scoring and this while just a freshman. “I felt good today” Lunetta said after the race, “I tried to stay with Nathan Curtner and work the hill and I am happy with my performance.” Adrian Flores and Michael Rodriguez held their own quite well in their first ever varsity races.
“I was very pleased with our performances as I knew we were in 3rd place with our girls and the boys were expected to be 3rd and they hung in there and got 2nd place!” Sandoval said excitedly.
On Saturday the squads opened the 2021 campaign at the Fastback Invitational held at Walnut’s Mt.SAC college. The course is a 2 mile, abbreviated version of the historic Mt.SAC course
King’s Boys placed 6th place overall out of 40 teams and the girls placed 7th place overall out of 35 teams. The teams raced by grade level, so the scoring was merged in a computer after all races had finished.
Sophomore Girls placed 2nd in their race with Kaylee Magno, Leah Pedleton, Emely Ruiz, Gardemia Sandoval and Sara Pietrantonio scoring.
The Senior Boys placed 3rd in their race with Gray Mavhera, Julian Morgan, Nathan Curtner, Adrian Flores, and Luke Stokes scoring.
“Audrey Brunken placed 2nd in the senior race leading the entire race till the straightaway to the finish line” said Sandoval . Her time placed 5th overall out of the entire day
“Gray Mavhera led the boys in a very tactical manner and started the first valley loop in the 30s and ended with a great finish in 6th” Sandoval said.
The course is notorious with significant hills to climb. The shortest hill, aptly named “Poop out” is actually the steepest and had a number of runners walking it’s grade. “No King runner walked that hill” Sandoval reported. “They persevered and passed so many people.”
“I was very satisfied and proud of my team and how aggressive and resilient they took on those hills and the hard work we have done is paying off.” Sandoval said.
Brunken agreed, saying “I loved this race, maybe not the course, but love this race”
The Wolves will be back on that course in October for the Mt.SAC Invitional and again in November for CIF.
They’ll need to learn to love it.